The Merseyside derby is also known as the friendly derby, although you wouldn’t think it based on some of the hot-tempered encounters between the sides over the years. First played way back on 13th October 1894, when Liverpool and Everton meet in the Premier League on Saturday 21st October at Anfield it will be the 243rd derby in total (not including testimonials) and the 209th in the league. As such, we thought it would be a good time to take a look back at some of the highlights, records and stats since that first meeting at Goodison Park (which Everton won 3-0, by the way!).
Premier League Merseyside Derbies
Football, and indeed the rivalry between Everton and Liverpool, started many moons before the Premier League came along. Nonetheless, we’ll kick things off here with the current head-to-head stats between the sides when it comes to Premier League games only.
On some measures (such as average league position at the end of Premier League seasons), Liverpool are streets ahead of the Toffees. But when it comes down to it, the Reds have only ever won one more Premier League title than Everton (i.e. just one!), so if viewed through Toffee-tinted glasses, there really hasn’t been much between them since the 1992/93 season, especially since neither side has been relegated in the Premier League era (though one of the duo has come mighty close on more than one occasion!).
To be fair, at the time of writing, Liverpool have certainly had the better of things in Merseyside derbies in the Premier League. Not only have they won more than twice as many as their rivals, they’ve also scored lots more goals (87 to 54). Everton appear to have been the dirtier of the sides during this time, meanwhile, with 144 yellow cards and 15 reds to Liverpool’s totals of 105 and 7 respectively.
Merseyside Derbies: All-time Stats
Now let’s look at the bigger picture and consider all Merseyside derbies in league and cup matches (including the Charity/Community Shield) stretching right back to the beginning of the 129-year rivalry. Note that the stats do not include friendly matches, testimonials or wartime games.
Once again, it has been Liverpool who’ve enjoyed the greater success with a 40% win rate (which is slightly down on their 43.5% win rate in the Premier League). This compares to just under 28% for Everton, with 32% of the derbies ending in draws.
When it comes to silverware, it’s fair to say Everton have some ground to make up on their rivals too. The Reds have landed a total of 67 trophies over the years, including 19 top-flight titles, eight FA Cups, nine League Cups and six Champions Leagues (or European Championships). Everton, meanwhile, have less than half that number, although 24 major trophies is still far more than most sides. That includes nine top-flight titles, five FA Cups and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Surprisingly, for a team of Everton’s history and stature, they’ve never won the League Cup.
Most Appearances in Merseyside Derbies
Everton legend and all-round nice guy Neville Southall tops the table for the most appearances in Merseyside derbies with a very impressive haul of 41 games. He kept 15 clean sheets in that time against Liverpool, which is also a record, albeit held jointly with Liverpool’s Ray Clemence (who gets the nod really as he achieved that in just 27 games).
Super striker Ian Rush is next (more of him later), followed by wacky keeper Bruce Grobbelaar and a couple of Liverpool stalwarts, Steven Gerrard and Alan Hansen.
Top Goalscorers in Merseyside Derbies
Let’s take a look at all the players who’ve scored five or more goals in Merseyside derbies, including one man who’s scored while playing for each of the teams!
|Alex “Sandy” Young||Everton||12|
|Peter Beardsley||Liverpool / Everton||7|
Ian Rush sits at the top of the goalscoring tree with his outstanding total of 25 goals. Of course, as you’ll see above, it took him 36 games to reach that total. As such, there’s a strong argument to suggest that the man who’s second on the list, Dixie Dean, was the better goalscorer in derbies (and in general!) as he got his 19 derby goals in just 17 appearances. He is also the only player to have scored two hat-tricks in Merseyside derbies. Although to give Rush his credit, he was the first to score four goals in a Merseyside derby (in Liverpool’s 5-0 victory at Goodison Park in 1982).
Steven Gerrard is one of the more modern names on the top goalscorer list and his total of 10 goals in derbies wasn’t a bad return for a midfielder, even from 33 games. Peter Beardsley played for both Everton and Liverpool in his long and illustrious career and scored for both in derby matches. This brings us nicely to the next section.
Players Who’ve Played for Everton and Liverpool
Those who’ve played for both Everton and Liverpool are said to have “crossed the park” in reference to Stanley Park which is situated between the clubs’ grounds, for now at least (with Everton set to move to their new stadium in 2024). At the time of writing there have been 39 players who’ve appeared for both sides, which is a surprisingly high figure considering neither side would purchase directly from the other for many years.
The highest transfer fee Liverpool have forked out for an Everton player was the £6 million they spent on Nick Barmby back in 2000. He made 57 appearances for the Reds and scored eight goals, so perhaps not a great return on the investment.
Other notable players to have crossed the park include the following:
- Abel Xavier – Xavier signed for Liverpool in January 2002 and having already played for Everton against the Reds, when he featured in the return derby, he became the first player to play for both sides in Merseyside derbies in the same season.
- Steve McMahon – McMahon is one of only two players (along with Andrew Hannah) to have been captain of Everton and Liverpool.
- Gary Ablett – Ablett won the FA Cup with both clubs and is the only player to have done so. His first FA Cup win was in 1988/89 with Liverpool… against Everton. Then he won it again with the Toffees in 1994/95 when they overcame Manchester United.
- Dick Forshaw – Forshaw played for Liverpool from 1919 to 1927 then moved to Everton where he remained until 1929. He remains the only player to have won the league with both Merseyside clubs.
It’s worth noting that two managers have also crossed the park. The most recent was Rafael Benitez, but the other was the very first manager of each club: William Edward Barclay.
Other Merseyside Derby Stats and Facts
We’ll finish up with a few stats and facts related to the Merseyside derby, starting with a veritable goalfest.
- Highest Scoring Merseyside Derby – Liverpool 7-4 Everton, 11th February 1933.
- Biggest Winning Margin – Liverpool 6-0 Everton, 7 September 1935.
- Highest Attendance (not including neutral venues) – 78,599 at Goodison Park, 18th September 1948 (It finished 1-1).
- Lowest Attendance (not including neutral venues) – 18,000 at Anfield, 19th January 1901 (Everton won 2-1).
- Most Red Cards – Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) and Phil Neville (Everton) both got sent off twice in Merseyside derby matches. The Merseyside derby has seen more red cards than any other fixture in the Premier League since it commenced in the 1992/93 season.